Drogba treble leads Chelsea rout of West Brom

AFP Global Edition

Aug 14, 2010 14:57 EDT

Didier Drogba struck a hat-trick as Chelsea started the defence of their Premier League title with a thumping 6-0 defeat of newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge here Saturday.

The striker -- who also scored three in the final league game of last season, the 8-0 defeat of Wigan scored in each half with Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda, who netted twice, also on target.

For West Brom and their manager Roberto Di Matteo -- a former Chelsea favourite -- this was a morale-sapping loss.

Last season's Premier League and FA Cup double success set an imposing standard that manager Carlo Ancelotti must try and match in his second season at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian showed faith in his current squad by only adding Ramires -- unavailable after completing a 17 million pounds move from Benfica less than 24 hours before kick-off -- and former Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun to his roster despite the exit of five senior players.

Chelsea ended the previous campaign with a swagger -- 17 goals in the final three league games -- and carried on from where they left off.

It took Malouda just six minutes to score the Blues' first goal of the season, capitalising on a error by Albion's former England keeper Scott Carson.

The chance arose after the home side had pieced together the first fluent attacking move of the afternoon that came to an abrupt end when Malouda was tripped just outside the Albion penalty area.

Drogba fired a powerful free kick through the defensive wall, Carson failed to hold the shot and Malouda finished from close range after the keeper had blocked John Obi Mikel's initial follow-up.

That was precisely the start the visitors didn't want as they began their attempt to establish themselves in the top-flight after years of flitting between the top two divisions.

To their credit, though, they responded well with Graham Dorrans testing Petr Cech with a long range shot before striker Roman Bednar spoiled a good opening by drifting narrowly offside.

They proved to be fleeting moments and with Chelsea in complete control, it was only a matter of time before the champions scored a second.

Lampard came close with a 40th minute free kick that Carson again parried only for France international Malouda to head the rebound over.

Yet that proved to be only a brief reprieve for Albion with Drogba firing another free-kick through a porous defensive wall seconds before the half time interval to drain what remained of the visitors' confidence.

Drogba added his second from another set-piece, this time from close range after John Terry's header had been cleared off the line following a Malouda corner.

Lampard struck next in the 63rd minute, five minutes before Drogba completed his hat-trick with a deflected shot and Malouda wrapped up the win with another goal in the final minute.

Source: AFP Global Edition


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